Armor: November 19, 1999

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: A new German-Russian consortium (Diehl, Krauss-Maffei, and KBP) plan to offer a new 105mm tank cannon shell known as Spear. This is, basically, a NATO 105mm cartridge case fitted with a Russian 100mm Stabber laser-guided anti-tank cannon-launched rocket (from the T55 tank series). The Consortium notes that this will give existing tanks with NATO 105mm guns an increase in range from 2km to 5.5km while maintaining a 90% chance of a hit. The shell is offered with both an anti-tank and blast-fragmentation warhead. --Stephen V Cole

November 17; TANK KILLER: Israeli Military Industries had designed a new top-attack tank killer known as Excalibur. The weapon is fired from a 105mm or 120mm tank cannon and (like the Russian cannon-launched weapons) proceeds on its way to destroy a target at very long range (easily 5km, perhaps even 8km). Unlike the existing Russian weapons (and the German export version of the Russian weapon configured for NATO 105mm guns), Excalibur is fire-and-forget (i.e., it does not require the tank gunner to keep a laser beam on the target). Excalibur can find its own target with its built-in seeker, and uses an arching trajectory to impact the top of the turret where armor is thinner. It has the de riguer tandem shaped-charge warhead designed to penetrate explosive reactive armor. The Israelis hope to sell the weapon to anyone with a fleet of 105mm gun tanks, and to use it in their own Army (which still has a majority of tanks with this caliber). A 120mm version is to be created as well. The Israelis are particularly hoping to provide the weapon to the new US Army medium brigades for use by their wheeled tank destroyers (which will certainly carry 105mm guns), but US contractors are already trying to develop a tank-cannon-launched guided shell. Excalibur will not move into full-scale development until it has sufficient orders to justify the expense.--Stephen V Cole

 


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